Balsamic Vinegar of Modena gift packs: a tasty gift idea for Christmas

A very special and delicious product is Balsamic Vinegar, produced in the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia. It can be bought together with classic balsamic condiments or in gift packs. For example, the balsamic vinegar gift boxes for Christmas are very nice, always appreciated by those who know the qualities of balsamic vinegar. Let’s discover this world of taste.

What is Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

Let’s start by saying that Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO or Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI is a particular vinegar, with a delicate and almost sweet flavour, very different from the sourness of classic wine vinegar. It is a product obtained under special climatic and production conditions, with grapes grown in the Modena area, a special cooking of the musts. Traditional procedures must be followed: balsamic vinegar can only be obtained from Sangiovese, Lambrusco, Trebbiano, Albana, Ancellotta, Fortana and Montuni grape musts. To these is added at least 10% wine vinegar and a part of old vinegar, which must be at least 10 years old.  The product is aged and/or matured in barrels, casks or vats made of fine wood, with racking from barrel to barrel in the vinegar cellar.

What is the vinegar cellar

The acetaia is the place where the transformation of must into balsamic vinegar takes place. It is usually an attic, where the batteries of barrels for the production of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO are located. A ‘battery’ is defined as a set of barrels of different sizes, placed in scale, from the largest to the smallest, to allow for the decanting of the precious liquid.

How is balsamic vinegar made?

There are three stages through which the original Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is obtained: the pressing of the grapes, the cooking of the must and its fermentation. To these must be added maturation and ageing. The crushing of the grapes is important, because the grapes from which the balsamic vinegar is made must be grown in the province of Modena, among the Lambrusco and Trebbiano hillside varieties. Once the must is obtained, it must be cooked in a cauldron over direct heat for several hours. In this way, the concentration of sugars is achieved.

The next stage is fermentation: after boiling, the fermentation process begins in the must by microorganisms (yeasts and acetobacteria). These transformations give rise to alcohol and above all acetic acid, which release the first aromas of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO. The next stage is maturation. It is the enzymes that determine the typical characteristics of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO starting with colour, fragrance and flavour. Lastly, ageing, which is strictly regulated: the liquid is concentrated in a very long process (from 12 to 24 years!). Actually 24 years is not an ageing limit but minimum time for DOP Extravecchio) until we obtain the product we all know.

The perfect gift

Since the maturing and ageing of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO takes place in small casks (or vaselli) made of different woods (oak, chestnut, mulberry, cherry, juniper) and of different sizes in the vinegar cellar, the packaging also follows strict specifications: only in 100 ml bottles, making it a truly precious gift for gourmets.


How to use balsamic vinegar in cooking

Balsamic vinegar, given its characteristics of sweetness and delicacy, can be combined with numerous dishes such as cooked and raw vegetables; meat; cheeses such as buffalo mozzarella; sauces and salads. It can also be used on some desserts.